July 15, 2011 (LBO) – With pirate attacks on the increase, Sri Lankan shippers have been advised to insure cargo against the risk of piracy off Somalia to minimize losses and delays if a vessel with their shipments is hijacked. Ships hijacked by Somali pirates take a long time to get released, said P Mukundan, director of the International Maritime Bureau, an industry body which probes trade fraud and runs the Piracy Reporting Centre which provides information on piracy attacks.
Even when a hijacked vessel is freed it could be held up in port until the ship owner tries to recover money paid as ransom to pirates and, unless cargo owners have taken out specific insurance, they could lose money.
“Piracy does have an effect on cargo owners,” Mukundan told a forum on maritime crime and trade malpractices organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka and the Shippers’ Academy Colombo.
“When a ship is held in Somalia and negotiations are going on for its release, the ship owner is not earning money. So when the ship comes out, he’s had to pay ransom, pay specialist military teams to deliver the money,” Mukundan said.
“It is very expensive. The cost of the whole operation, including the time the ship